Thesis exhibitions are a fantastic but all-too-brief opportunity for undergraduates (particularly non-art students) to see some of the best that the school of art has to offer. Until March 8, the Alexandre Hogue gallery will feature art from MFA students Kyle Blair, Nancy Andrasko and Kalyn Barnoski. Another thesis show is set to premiere in the gallery March 10 with art from Megan Curtis and Blake Walinder.
The gallery opens to Kyle Blair’s work, full of color and silliness. No matter the medium, all of the art in the exhibition carries a common self-referential humor and retro cartoon style. His “Monster Cereal” prints, for instance, parody the classic General Mills monster-themed cereals that began in the early 70s. In place of Count Chocula and Franken Berry, Blair depicts the box art for “Canni-Bowls” and “Berry’d Alive.” Far from frightening or macabre, however, the illustrations are enlivened by aggressively happy and colorful scenes.
Some of Blair’s most gratifying works on display allude to the unsophisticated characteristics of his art and the humor of that juxtaposition within a “serious” exhibition setting. There’s something particularly delightful in viewing a print titled “Butt, is it Art?” and featuring, well, a butt.
Following Blair’s prints and illustrations are several displays of Nancy Andrasko’s sculptural work. Repetitive forms like those in “Rings” or “Strands of Time” lend themselves to further inspection, which reveal minor variation in the handling of the individual segments. Particularly given their size, it’s easy to get lost in these pieces’ details.
Andrasko’s works on display all tend to demonstrate a naturalism of some kind, whether in the more organic approach to the molding of her patterned forms, or by representing the natural world directly. The triptych “Landscapes” is an example of the latter—its abstract layers of glazed clay form in the viewer’s eye a sky and hilly terrain.
Finally, along the wall of the gallery’s lower level are Kalyn Barnoski’s mixed media prints. All of the creative options Barnoski takes for these works seem to be in service of intimacy. The photographs that serve as each piece’s base feel nostalgic, and the embroidery around certain letters and people give a scrapbook quality. The screenprinted circles around most of the figures’ faces seems to highlight and preserve their personalities.
“Watch Over Us” affords a particularly moving emotional impact. Between scattered, broken spiritual verse and a family portrait that replaces the characteristic screenprinted circle with an “X” for the father figure, there are some weighty sentiments to discover.
These shows are some of the best chances for students to view the experienced artistic output of MFA students in a gallery setting without going off campus. Alexandre Hogue Gallery is on the bottom floor on the east side of Phillips Hall.